Money will be used to build 150 new facilities to support mental health urgent and emergency care services
Mental health services will be improved, including an injection of £143m in capital funding
The Government has announced plans to inject £150m into mental health services, including improving the buildings from which care is delivered and creating new infrastructure.
The investment up to April 2025 will better support people experiencing – or at risk of experiencing – mental health crises to receive care and support in more-appropriate settings outside of A&E, helping to ease pressures facing the NHS.
The funding will allow for the procurement of up to 100 new mental health ambulances to deliver support on scene or transfer patients to the most-appropriate place for care.
It will also fund 150 new projects centred on supporting the provision of mental health crisis response and urgent mental health care.
These include over 30 schemes providing crisis cafes, crisis houses, and other similar safe spaces, as well as over 20 new, or improved, health-based places of safety which provide a safe space for people detained by the police.
Improvements to NHS 111 and crisis phone lines will also be rolled out.
Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, said: “People in mental health crisis deserve compassionate care in a safe and appropriate setting. Too often, they end up in A&E when they should be receiving specialist treatment elsewhere.
With the health systems facing huge challenges this winter from the rise in flu, ongoing COVID-19 cases, and the impact of the pandemic, we need to ensure people are still receiving the right specialist care
“This important funding will make sure they get the help they need, while easing pressures on emergency departments and freeing up staff time – which is a huge priority for the government this winter.”
Health and Social Care Secretary, Steve Barclay, added: “With the health systems facing huge challenges this winter from the rise in flu, ongoing COVID-19 cases, and the impact of the pandemic, we need to ensure people are still receiving the right specialist care.
“These dedicated facilities will ensure patients experiencing a mental health crisis receive the care they need in an appropriate way, while freeing up staff availability including within A&E departments.”
The cash includes £143m of capital funding towards the 150 new projects.
It will be invested in providing and improving a range of spaces to support people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, mental health crises. This includes new mental health urgent assessment and care centres and the redesign and refurbishment of existing mental health suites and facilities including in emergency departments, creating spaces outside of A&E, and the expansion of crisis lines.
With planned projects located across the country, the 150 schemes support the wider government commitment to level up mental health and wellbeing across the country – including some of the most-deprived local authority areas in England.
Programmes will also focus on preventative measures, including improvement of sanctuary spaces, to improve mental wellbeing, and community mental health facilities that will work to help people before reaching crisis point.
These dedicated facilities will ensure patients experiencing a mental health crisis receive the care they need in an appropriate way, while freeing up staff availability including within A&E departments
NHS mental health director, Claire Murdoch, said: “Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, the NHS is on track to deliver its Long Term Plan commitment to boost mental health spending by £2.3billion a year, enabling around 4.5 million adults and over 700,000 young people to access mental health services.
“As well as expanding capacity to meet record demand, the NHS is transforming mental health services to help people get more-appropriate care when they contact services and this investment will see specialist mental health ambulances deployed, new crisis cafes opened, and existing facilities modernised, to deliver urgent and emergency mental healthcare to more people who need it.”